Student Teams & Projects

There are a number of opportunities for students to get hands-on experience while enrolled as a student at Aerospace Engineering, including being part of a student team or participating in an undergraduate research project.

Wilson Student Team Project Center

The University of Michigan College of Engineering supports a wide array of student project teams. The Wilson Student Team Project Center occupies a facility adjacent to the FXB building to support a diverse set of student team projects. Students gain experience with all phases of the design, build, test project cycle.

Read a description of some student project teams below, or see a complete list of Wilson Student Team Project teams.

Meaningful Places: The Wilson Center


MAAV: Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles

The Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (MAAV) team is a student competition team at the University of Michigan founded in September 2009. The goal of the team is to enter and win the 2011 International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC). The team consists of students ranging from freshman to graduate students with a few Ph.D. candidate advisors. The team is a highly interdisciplinary team with students from Aerospace Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and the Business School. The team is divided into sub-teams to delegate tasks vital to the project. These sub-teams include: Electrical Hardware, Navigation, Structures, Controls and Simulation, Imaging, Testing and Business. Each of the members on the team is involved in at least two of the sub-teams.

At the end of the first year, MAAV successfully built two quadrotor vehicles capable of manual flight. Many of the autonomous aspects of the project made significant progress, but have not been implemented on the vehicle.

Faculty Advisors: Pete Washabaugh | Ella Atkins | Ed Olson (Computer Science & Engineering)

M-Fly SAE Aero Design Team

M-Fly is a design, build, fly team led by undergraduate and graduate students of all majors. The team designs and builds three aircrafts each year to compete in the SAE Aero Design and AUVSI-SUAS competitions. 

Team members gain direct, hands-on experience in designing and building an aircraft. The teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills gained through M-Fly make our team members ideal candidates for any engineering career. Furthermore, M-Fly offers opportunities for students to network with alumni and sponsors from a variety of big industries, such as Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, and more. These students transition easily into the work environment because of the prior engineering experience they attained through M-Fly.

At the 2022 SAE competition in Fort Worth, TX, our Regular Class team placed 6th out of 22 teams overall, placed 5th for mission performance, 5th for design report, and 10th for technical presentation; and our Advanced Class team placed 8th out of 22 teams overall, was one of four teams total to pass technical inspection, and one of three teams to successfully drop our secondary aircraft onto a target in a field from our main aircraft.

M-Fly recognizes that successful aircraft design requires a holistic approach. All aspects of the system (aerodynamics, structures, propulsion, avionics, etc.) must be considered in order to successfully configure an aircraft. Hence, M-Fly is composed of mainly aerospace, mechanical, and computer science engineers, but is by no means geared specifically towards engineering majors. Everyone is welcome to join!

Contact: [email protected]


Social Media: 




The Aero Design® Competition challenges engineering students to conceive, design, fabricate and test a radio controlled aircraft that can take off and land while carrying the maximum cargo. This gives students the opportunity to apply the knowledge learned in the classroom on a practical problem.

—SAE Aero Design

M-Jet: Michigan Jet Engine Team

The purpose of this group is to provide University of Michigan Students with a hands-on jet engine experience and help them better understand the inner workings of a turbine engine. Our organizations sponsors jet engine experiments. These experiments are put together by three subcommittees which meet weekly to work on the project. Initial experiments will be basic engine runs and in the future we will test the engine performance with different fuels and in varying altitudes.

Faculty Advisor: Tim Smith


M-SAAVE: Michigan – Sustainability Applications for Aerospace Vehicle Engineering

Michigan – Sustainability Applications for Aerospace Vehicle Engineering (M-SAAVE) is a multidisciplinary student project team that is committed to driving social and environmental progress via deliberate application of aerospace technologies. Our objective is to design, build, test, and fly an aircraft each academic year, aligned with the United Nations SDGs and a partner organization’s core mission. For the 2021-2022 school year, we are developing an unpiloted aerial vehicle that can be utilized by our partner Air Serv International, one of the world’s leading aviation service providers for humanitarian missions.

Undergraduate and graduate students of all majors are welcome to join!

Social Media: Instagram | Twitter

Faculty Advisor: George Halow


Michigan Solar Sea (MSS) designs, builds, and races a manned electric boat to compete in the Promoting Electronic Propulsion competition (PEP) hosted by the American Society of Naval Engineers. Our team offers students the unique opportunity to work on a full-scale boat project. Some challenges we face include designing and fabricating hydrofoils (underwater wings), a hull and a propulsion system for efficiency and high-speed performance. Everyone is welcome to our team regardless of background, experience, or area of expertise. There is a place for everyone at MSS!

Faculty Advisor: Krzysztof Fidkowski

MVFT: Michigan Vertical Flight Technology 

Michigan Vertical Flight Technology (MVFT) was founded in February 2018 to provide students with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience with Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technologies. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the team earned first place in the Vertical Flight Society’s Inaugural Design-Build-Vertical Flight (DBVF) Competition and plans to continue competing in VFS’s annual completion. This means the team completes the design-build-test-compete cycle of a new eVTOL aircraft each academic year so that new members are able to participate in each stage of creating the final craft.

Undergraduate and graduate students of all majors are welcome to join!

Social Media: Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Faculty Advisor: Carlos Cesnik


MASA: Michigan Aeronautical Science Association

MASA is the student-run rocketry team at the University of Michigan. We take a multidisciplinary approach to engineering, bringing students together to design, build, and launch pioneering liquid-fueled rockets. MASA is composed of 7 subteams, allowing team members to grow in all aspects of engineering, business, outreach, and leadership. Together, MASA works to take Michigan to new heights!”

2022 Hype Video

The Michigan eXploration Lab

The Michigan Exploration Laboratory (MXL) works to achieve a comprehensive blend of education, research, and entrepreneurship within the University of Michigan College of Engineering.  The collaborative MXL environment has already yielded flight-proven achievements in high altitude ballooning and small satellite design, with even more innovations resulting from the analysis of completed missions.

Based in the department of aerospace engineering, MXL brings together students from across a multitude of academic engineering disciplines in order to create a finely tuned and well-balanced engineering design and development team. By working with such a diversely populated team on real missions, students are afforded the opportunity to cultivate their own strengths and interests while learning key teambuilding and communication skills.


Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress